Fall is a funny time for a fishing guide in the Keys. The breakneck pace ebbs a bit, and I have time to get friendly again with all the land-loving facets of my life. Dock duties are essential, for re-rigging and repairs. But a day on the water with clients is a dollar in my pocket. Food on the table. Success. Glancing over the calendar at days that aren’t booked causes a slight but nagging unease. For a guide, peace of mind is best found surrounded by ocean, sky and fish.
Until winter happens, that is. Holiday anglers come around to take advantage of the more moderate temps and warmer climates. That bleeds into Spring break,which has me hustling ’til tarpon season slows, followed by the rash of summer anglers and suddenly I’m so busy I’m hoping hard for a storm cloud so I can catch my breath. Which explains why I haven’t posted an update in ages. In a nut shell, for the last 7 months I hustled bonefish, tarpon, permit, snook, redfish, sharks, and more through about a dozen different tournaments. The high point was watching my angler catch his biggest tarpon ever using 6 kg (about 12 lb) test line bringing the fish to hand for measurement, photos and a release of about a 170 lb. tarpon.
After finishing the Del Brown Permit Fly Tournament in Key West in July after a respectable finish, I took advantage of being my own boss and traveled with the family to parts north. Got to wet a line in Brevard, NC – fun to break out the lighter weight fresh water fly rods. I helped my daughter land a bluegill from a mountain lake, and my son and I caught some wild brown trout while wading. If you’re ever in that area, visit Walker Parrot at Davidson River Outfitters… Now it’s back to the home front. In between trips I’ll finish off some critical domestic projects (such as turning a push pole into a handrail for our stairs, and building some bat- and bird houses with the kids). Because before you know it there’ll be a slight chill in the air and the forecast will be for fishing, fishing, fishing, as far as the eye can see. Jump in and book a trip with me now – before the blank spaces on my calendar start filling up. Which brings me to the Gratitude: because even though I occasionally long for a day off, I crave the daily grind…of sunrises and sunsets…of tight lines and screaming drags and smiling faces fulfilling lifelong dreams.